Washington State Legislature

State Legislature
5:51 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Bill would excuse religious students during holidays

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 5:23 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Students would be able to take up to two days off per year for religious holidays under a proposal in Olympia. A hearing is scheduled Monday on a bill that would benefit Muslim students celebrating Ramadan.

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Politics
4:04 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

State Senate seeks to safeguard workers' Facebook passwords

Timur Emek DAPD

Washington state senators are looking to safeguard the social media passwords of workers and job applicants.

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Politics
10:04 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Gov. Inslee disappointed with fate of gun bill

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to a joint session of the Washington Legislature, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, shortly after being sworn in as Governor, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Gov. Inslee disappointed with fate of gun bill Gov. Jay Inslee says he is disappointed that a proposal to expand background checks on Washington state gun sales has stalled, but says he'll continue making phone calls on the issue.

After the issue locked up the House for much of the day Tuesday, the bill ultimately was not brought out for a vote and its sponsors conceded they could not get majority support for the measure, even with a proposed referendum clause that would have allowed the public to vote on the measure.

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Politics
9:06 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Bill to expand background checks for gun sales fail in House

M Glasgow Flickr

A proposal to expand background checks on Washington state gun sales has failed in the state House.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Pedersen of Seattle said Tuesday night he was unable to corral the 50 votes necessary to pass the bill through the chamber. Pedersen says he was disappointed by the result, coming even after he agreed to add a referendum clause to the bill.

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Transportation
4:34 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Local leaders to state: Let us tax ourselves for transportation

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn joins area business, labor and elected leaders to push for "local options" for funding roads and transit.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Local leaders from across King County want to tax themselves to pay for bus service, ferries, roads and bridges, but even local measures would need approval from the state.

The coalition, which includes the mayor of Seattle and more than 40 other cities, want to be able to tack on fees to car tab renewals and vehicle transfers, among others. That requires approval from state legislators.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said local governments should be free to invest in their own infrastructure.

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Washington State Government
10:31 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Inside the world of business lobbying in Olympia

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:27 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In the world of state legislatures, there’s a powerful breed of players who normally shun the spotlight. They prefer to work behind the scenes to influence policy outcomes. We’re talking about business lobbyists. Inside this often hidden world, you’ll meet two of the most successful corporate contract lobbyists in the Washington state capitol. And learn some of their tricks of the trade.

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Politics
5:05 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Washington Supreme Court tosses out supermajority tax vote requirement

Cacophony Wikipedia

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:05 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Democrats say it’s a victory for democracy. Republicans call it a defeat for taxpayers. In a major decision Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out the state’s two-thirds supermajority requirement for raising taxes. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the voter-approved law violates a provision of the Washington state constitution that requires a simple majority vote in the state legislature to approve bills.

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Law
10:29 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Fate of abortion coverage bill uncertain in Olympia

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 3:37 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. − A bill to require insurance companies to offer plans that cover maternity services and abortions passed the Washington House Friday. It is unclear, however, whether the legislation will make it through the Senate’s Republican-majority caucus. Majority Leader Rodney Tom has said he doesn’t want to vote on divisive social issues.

In the House debate, Rep. Laurie Jinkins said this bill would provide options for abortion coverage after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

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Gun Control
4:06 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Bill Regulating Private Gun Sales Passes Committee

M Glasgow Flickr

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:46 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A bill to require background checks for private gun sales is one step closer to a final vote. Tuesday, members of a Washington House committee voted seven to six.

Republican Rep. Jay Rodne opposed the bill, saying it would not be enforceable.

“We’re going to drain precious law enforcement resources to policing this measure,” he says.

But, Republican Rep. Mike Hope, a police officer, said this measure could help prevent shootings like what happened in Newtown, Conn.

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Law
11:27 am
Wed February 13, 2013

State senate targets Seattle's sick leave policy with two new bills

Seattle's sick leave law is being targeted in by two new bills introduced in the Senate.

The city's law requires businesses with at least five employees operating in Seattle to provide paid sick leave to workers. It took effect in September.

Two bills introduced Tuesday by Senate Republicans would directly impact that law. One would take Seattle's law off the books completely by declaring that the Legislature has the sole responsibility for sick-leave requirements.

Environment
5:14 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

WA Toxics Coalition again seeking ban on flame retardant Tris

Five years ago, Washington became the first state in the nation to ban a class of toxic flame retardants known as PBDEs.

Now, evidence is mounting that a widely-used alternative is just as toxic.

A new bill before lawmakers in Olympia would ban the flame retardant called Tris from children’s products and household furniture.

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Gun Control
7:27 am
Thu January 31, 2013

State lawmakers eye universal background checks for gun sales

Robert Nelson Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:33 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Democratic lawmakers in both Washington and Oregon are working on measures to require background checks for all gun sales. A universal check proposal was introduced Wednesday in the Washington House. A similar bill is expected in the Oregon Senate soon.

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Government Spending
10:53 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Washington lawmakers rack up hefty cellphone bills

During last year's legislative session that focused on budget troubles, Washington state Sen. Jerome Delvin racked up a cellphone bill that would make most users recoil: $309.21 in one month alone.

It wasn't out of the norm for Delvin, who submitted his costs for taxpayers to cover.

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Government Spending
9:47 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Washington tax dollars go to dry cleaning, artwork

A few days after Washington lawmakers approved a budget deal to lower state spending last year, small-government Rep. Gary Alexander got $40.60 worth of dry cleaning done.

Then he made sure taxpayers paid the bill.

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Politics
3:41 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Fight brewing over College Bound scholarship

Colin Fogarty

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 10:04 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – First it was Washington’s guaranteed tuition program. Now the new Majority Leader of the state senate has another college access program in his budget-cutting sights: College Bound. Democrat Rodney Tom says this higher education scholarship program is an unfunded state liability.

“It’s a great promise and it’s a promise that I think we should have as a state, Tom said.  "But, you know, it could be a $1 billion to $2 billion liability out there that we haven’t even recognized yet.”

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